George Washington and the Cherry Tree
There has been a recent discovery among archives shedding new information regarding George Washington's famous line "I can not tell a lie - I chopped down the Cherry Tree" It seems that someone was hiding nearby during the following discussion and copied this on parchment.
"George, son, did you chop down the cherry tree?"
"Son, because I trust you and have given you the privilege of running the plantation while I'm gone as a symbol of that trust, I'm going to believe you."
Seven Months Later...
"George, your brother was talking to one of our slaves, and the slave told him he saw you chop down that cherry tree last winter. Did you?"
"I think you are lying."
"No, no, no! I swear I did NOT chop down the cherry tree."
"Son, he saw you out here with your axe. Your punishment will be much worse for you if you lie. Now, tell me the truth!"
"Dad, I answered your question truthfully. Still, I must take complete responsibility for all my actions. While my answer was legally accurate, I did not volunteer information. Indeed, Dad, I did cause the cherry tree to be lying on the ground. To do this was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible. I know my answer to you gave a false impression. I misled you, my own father. I deeply regret that. I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors.
"What I did, Dad, was use a saw to cause the cherry tree to fall. Only after the tree was already down did I go get my axe to chop off individual branches. So, I chopped off branches, but sawed down the tree. Look at the saw cut on the stump and the axe cuts on the branches. Therefore, legally, I told the truth. I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of this fallen tree and to return our attention to a solid family relationship. After all, who's going to remember a cherry tree as a symbol of my character and ability to lead?"
The human race has one really
effective weapon, and that is laughter.
Mark Twain, U.S. Author (1835-1910)